All The Reasons You Shouldn't Be Scared Of Oil Cleansers

Hi, I'm Pippa, and I’m using an oil cleanser as an acne treatment for my combination skin. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “Oil?! Is she crazy? I need less oil not more!”. As someone who has combination, acne-prone skin, I fully understand where this fear is coming from.

It’s disheartening to spend large amounts of time and money on products that fail to balance your skin or calm down breakouts - let alone make everything worse. So, in an effort to convince you that oil cleansing can in fact be suitable for acne-prone skin types, I've used three different oil cleansers, from three different brands and have done a bit of research to put your mind at rest when it comes to oil cleansing. 

Side note: Jo takes us through all the different types of cleansers for each skin type, and answers frequently asked questions about double cleansing in the video below...

What Is Oil Cleansing & The Double Cleansing Method? 

Put simply, this technique involves massaging an oil cleanser into the skin first, emulsify by rinsing with water and then following the process with a second cleanser. The oil cleanser removes any makeup, sunscreen, pollution and blemish-causing debris, while the second cleanser removes the remaining product and efficiently cleans the epidermis (or top) layer of the skin.  Not surprisingly, the double cleansing method is incredibly popular in the iconic skincare nations of Japan and South Korea.

Sooo, how will this get rid of my acne, you ask? Well, the cleansing oil removes any oil based components (see, Year 7 Science was helpful!) which water or a water-based cleanser can't efficiently remove. This is why using an oil cleanser can be beneficial for very oily, or acne-prone skin. Acne-prone skins can also often be dehydrated and present as "oily". Many of us are guilty of using super drying products to combat breakouts, which in turn causes an overproduction of oil (making us think we have oily skin, but actually our skin is just trying to overcompensate). So using an oil cleanser can also help to balance that out.

Oil Cleaners I've Used and Loved 

Edible Beauty Pure Enchantress Makeup Oil Remover

I might be biased because Edible Beauty is one of my favourite brands, but hear me out. This natural, vegan-friendly formula has a light consistency upon application but becomes thicker as it binds to makeup, lifting it from your skin.

  • It has a soft scent of citrus which is from the grapefruit peel oil in the formula

  • After using this product your skin is left feeling nourished & comfortable

  • As for makeup removal, this product really shined when it came to removing eye makeup

  • It effectively took off eyeliner, colourful eyeshadow and mascara like a champ

Removes All Traces of Make Up


Pure Enchantress Make Up Remover Oil is so gentle, removes all traces of make up and leaves you skin soft and hydrated. I use this every night, followed by the No. 1 Belle Frais Cleansing Milk. A fabulous combination.

Dermalogica PreCleanse 150ml

Despite their reputation as being more of a "clinical" brand, almost all of Dermalogica's products are vegan, and place skin health at the core of their brand. Dermalogica's PreCleanse was my first oil cleansing product and I fell in love with oil cleansing as soon as I used it!

  • It is an incredibly light oil that packs a punch, easily gliding through foundation & cutting through oil

  • I find the oil stays the same consistency, thinning out any debris it comes across

  • You do need to be careful using it around your eye area, as it will sting if it gets in your eyes

  • It has a very light lavender scent, so makeup removal feels more like a pamper session

Well worth the money


Low scent and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. Removes the most stubborn makeup with ease and gives your skin a cleansing boost to and remove impurities after a long day. For extra effect place a warm wet wash cloth over your face or gently steam bath your face for a few minutes. The pre cleanser works very well with the exfoliating mitt as well. A really nice product.

Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil 140ml

From humble beginnings, Medik8 has now risen to being one of the biggest names in skincare. The Lipid-Balancing Cleansing Oil is the most recent vegan oil cleanser I’ve tried and I decided to test it out. So I swatched my face with eyeliner, concealer, dark eyeshadow and a contour foundation which is maybe 20 shades too dark for my skin tone.

  • The oil maintained its consistency melting the makeup off as I massage it in

  • Although it didn’t turn milky when I applied the water, it did wonders when I added my cleanser

  • It becomes very foamy & light, clearing all debris effectively from my skin

  • It's an ultra-gentle formula suitable for all skin types, including sensitive

One of the best


Having tried countless cleansing oils, I can genuinely say this is one of the most effective and enjoyable I've ever used - in terms of consistency, packaging, effective make-up removal, scent, suitability for sensitive skin, no greasy residue etc. Would definitely recommend.

Things To Keep In Mind While Cleansing:

  • When choosing a second cleanser to follow your oil cleanser, make sure you use a formula that is appropriate for your skin type - and for acne-prone skin, check out cleansers that contain AHAs & BHAs.

  • Remember oil production is your friend, not your enemy, so after cleansing you want to make sure your skin feels clean, fresh and plump. If your skin feels tight, rough or uncomfortable after cleansing, you may not be using the right formula for your skin - so consider changing it up.

  • You can also enhance your cleansing routine further with devices like FOREO's LUNA, which is a favourite of our Beauty Editor.

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